Okay, so the first recipe was crazy simple. Older kids could make this themselves if like me when I was young, they have to fend for themselves for an after school snack.
So, this recipe is inspired by the jars of Newman's Own Tomato & Basil Sauce that I received as part of the foodbuzz tastemakers program. Not only that, Newman's Own also gave me a free Flip Video camera to record my recipes with! Oh man, Newman, you people don't know what you're getting into by giving me, TFH, a video camera!!!!!
This recipe has more steps, and while it isn't the quickest recipe, it is a fun and delicious dish, that would actually be great for getting the kids to help.
Tomatoey Chicken Stew with Polenta
2 - 3lb chicken thighs (of course if you want you can use white meat, but I recommend bone in chicken for flavor and texture)
1 medium onion medium dice
3 cloves garlic chopped
8 oz mushrooms slice
1 c white wine
1 jar Newman's Own Tomato & Basil Sauce
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 c polenta
5 c water, chicken or veggie stock
1/2 c parmesan cheese
4 leaves basil
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a hot pan on medium high heat. Season chicken, then place skin side down in hot pan. Let it brown for several minutes, then flip and cook 3 more minutes. Remove chicken from pan. Saute onion and garlic, 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and let cook for another 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze with wine. Add chicken back to pan. Empty whole jar of tomato sauce into pan and stir. Lower heat to medium low, and let cook for about 45 minutes.
Bring salted water to a boil in high sided saucepan. Whisk in polenta. Continue to whisk for about 10 minutes, until polenta is starting to thicken. Lower heat to medium low. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in the rest of the olive oil. If you love olive oil like I do, you can add twice as much. Switch to a wooden spoon and keep stirring constantly for 20 - 30 more minutes, until it's not grainy anymore - it will be smooth and fluffy, and it will stick to the sides of the pan. This is the part where it would be really helpful to have a little helper in the kitchen to keep stirring the polenta! Taste it and reseason as needed.
To plate, spoon polenta onto plate or in bowl, place chicken on top with lots of sauce. garnish with torn fresh basil, grated parmesan and cracked black pepper.
You can save any extra polenta for polenta cakes. Spread leftover polenta evenly in a sheet pan. Cover and weigh it down with another sheet pan and let it firm up in the fridge. To reheat, cut polenta into squares, or triangles. Dredge with flour. Heat oil in a hot pan and place polenta cakes in pan. Let it brown on medium high heat for a few minutes, then flip it. Turn heat lower and let cook for 5 more minutes. You can serve it with the leftover chicken stew, or with almost any sauce - pesto in particular goes really well with this!